Badieh’s self-titled debut album – a collection of mystifying folk pieces from the Greater Khorasan region of Iran and Afghanistan – is out now.
A collaboration between two masters of their craft, Badieh is the project of Michel Gasco and Mohammad Miraghazadeh. A step past Gasco’s previous Orontes project, these delicate reinterpretations of traditional Khorasani folk track takes his instrumentation to new heights. Each strum is crafted to perfection, perfectly complemented by Miraghazdeh’s expertise in Persian classical music. Those with a keen ear may hear similarities between Badieh’s music and the sounds of Mohammad Rahim Khushnawaz, Sima Bina and Ensemble Kaboul.
“Mohammad and I met in one of the periods I spent in Mashhad, Iran, to study Afghan Rubab, begins Gasco. “We had a musical connection from the first time we met, even though we come from totally different backgrounds. We tried to find a common ground by playing folk pieces from Khorasan – a very important historical and geographical area now divided by the border between Iran and Afghanistan. We enjoyed this so much, so we recorded our favourite folk pieces from both sides of the border.”
As the second single off Badieh’s self-titled release, Layla Dar Vakon is full of wistfulness, grace and delicateness. The soothing plucks serve as an introduction to deep, murky drumming and fluttering progressions, capturing something both light and vivid yet heaving and moody all at once.
“For Mohammad and me the thing was to find out in which pieces would fit better each instrument,” says Gasco. “We didn´t want to play exactly as these pieces are played traditionally. All the instrument combinations were done depending on how we felt playing with this or that instrument. While our last single, Paresh-e Jal is a very beautiful Herati piece, Layla Dar Vakon is an Iranian piece with a very different mood. We also play with different instruments this time – the Oud, Tar and Tombak. It was perfect to use it as a second single.”
Rich sounds come from every angle of this record, featuring expert performances of Arabic oud, Afghan rubab, tar, setar, tabla, tombak, duf and kuze. These intricate arrangements are the tell-tale signs of an expertise rarely matched in the field of modern middle-eastern influenced music. Prior to the pandemic, Gasco took his prowess to spectacular shows at Flamenco Maroc in Morocco along with the Al Mutamid Music Festival in southern Portugal. With new material, documentary film projects and tours on the horizon, Badieh have their eyes set on Morocco and Australia in the near future. Expect excitement, expert musicianship and audio-visual experiences soon.